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Diseases of Aquatic Organisms

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DAO 98:27-39 (2012)  -  DOI:

Oral and cloacal microflora of wild crocodiles Crocodylus acutus and C. moreletii in the Mexican Caribbean

Pierre Charruau1,*, Jonathan Pérez-Flores2, José G. Pérez-Juárez2, J. Rogelio Cedeño-Vázquez3, Rebeca Rosas-Carmona3

1Departamento de Zoología, Instituto de Biología, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Distrito Federal 04510, Mexico
2Departamento de Salud y Bienestar Animal, Africam Safari Zoo, Puebla, Puebla 72960, Mexico
3Departamento de Ingeniería Química y Bioquímica, Instituto Tecnológico de Chetumal, Chetumal, Quintana Roo 77013, Mexico

ABSTRACT: Bacterial cultures and chemical analyses were performed from cloacal and oral swabs taken from 43 American crocodiles Crocodylus acutus and 28 Morelet’s crocodiles C. moreletii captured in Quintana Roo State, Mexico. We recovered 47 bacterial species (28 genera and 14 families) from all samples with 51.1% of these belonging to the family Enterobacteriaceae. Fourteen species (29.8%) were detected in both crocodile species and 18 (38.3%) and 15 (31.9%) species were only detected in American and Morelet’s crocodiles, respectively. We recovered 35 bacterial species from all oral samples, of which 9 (25.8%) were detected in both crocodile species. From all cloacal samples, we recovered 21 bacterial species, of which 8 (38.1%) were detected in both crocodile species. The most commonly isolated bacteria in cloacal samples were Aeromonas hydrophila and Escherichia coli, whereas in oral samples the most common bacteria were A. hydrophila and Arcanobacterium pyogenes. The bacteria isolated represent a potential threat to crocodile health during conditions of stress and a threat to human health through crocodile bites, crocodile meat consumption or carrying out activities in crocodile habitat. We especially warn about the presence of Salmonella arizonae and S. typhi, which cause enteritis and septicemia in crocodiles and salmonellosis and typhoid fever in humans. The risk of bacterial contamination from crocodiles to humans could increase in the future because of the accelerated destruction of crocodile habitat, which could lead to an augmentation of human−crocodile interactions. Information on bacterial diversity reported here could help in the choice of antibacterial products in case of infections that are of crocodile origin.

KEY WORDS: Bacterial flora · Crocodylus acutus · Crocodylus moreletii · Salmonella · Cozumel · Río Hondo · Banco Chinchorro · Mexico

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Cite this article as: Charruau P, Pérez-Flores J, Pérez-Juárez JG, Cedeño-Vázquez JR, Rosas-Carmona R (2012) Oral and cloacal microflora of wild crocodiles Crocodylus acutus and C. moreletii in the Mexican Caribbean. Dis Aquat Org 98:27-39.

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